I’m not a Valentine’s Day person, so even if I’m coupled off, I never want the chocolates or the cards or the fancy dinner. But this year is different.
This year I’m desperate for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to see this off-the-wall Valentine’s Day TV ad being crowdfunded by thousands of jilted Americans.
I mean, just look at this thing:
So why would Americans target the Canadian Prime Minister for breaking a campaign promise? Well, because he kind of made the promise to us too: that he would reject dangerous mega-pipelines like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, a project that would increase dangerous oil tanker traffic in the fragile Puget Sound by nearly 700%.
Considering the celebrated and gooey public crush that American liberals have on Trudeau, he may find this raunchy breakup TV ad a bit jarring. Which is one of many reasons I love the mental image of Trudeau hunkering down to watch some Degrassi re-runs and seeing it.
The pipeline in question, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, is part of Kinder Morgan’s attempt to speed up and double down on their exploitation of the Alberta tar sands, and it’s opposed by First Nations and environmental activists all over Canada, who are worried about the dramatic uptick in oil tanker traffic and the potential for a leak along the pipeline route. The dangers are so clear that even the provincial government of British Columbia is trying to stop it.
But Trudeau isn’t just refusing to step in. He’s actively working to get this thing started. And the groups behind “Dearest Justin”* are making sure American pipeline warriors aren’t too starry-eyed to bring the heat needed to stop it.
It seems to be working: thousands of Valentine’s Day cards have already been sent (digitally of course — saving paper and all), all from Americans asking their former Canadian crush to crush this pipeline. And as of this writing, the campaign is raising funds to get the ad on the air in Ottawa, where Trudeau lives, during late-night hours when he’s most likely to be parked on the couch (he’s said before he’s a fan of Sherlock and The Americans — although I don’t know how much he’ll like Americans after this). And ad money goes a shockingly long way in Ottawa; an ad during The Tonight Show With Stephen Colbert is only $1,400.
I have to say it’s pretty refreshing to see that willingness to get in his face — too many of us in the US have been tiptoeing around #MapleBae and his spotty climate track record for too long.
Because the thing is, this dreamboat isn’t so dreamy in the area where it matters most: the broken promises that Trudeau made to First Nations in Canada. At the top of that list is his failure to immediately adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, as he said he would. That is not an acceptable promise to break, but if Americans accept Trudeau’s approval of Trans Mountain, we’re glossing right over it.
The Declaration says that indigenous groups must give free, informed consent to to any legislative matters that affect them. Given that the Trans Mountain pipeline’s terminus is on the very inlet from which the Tsleil-Waututh Nation gets its name, it’s safe to say that the Trans Mountain expansion “affects” indigenous people in Canada. And yet Trudeau is totally disregarding the very vocal opposition from the Tsleil-Waututh, who explicitly denied permission for the expansion after conducting their own assessment way back in 2015. Carbon bomb or no, that’s a messed up thing to do.
So Happy Valentine’s Day, Prime Minister. Please stop breaking our hearts.
*Dearest Justin is a project of Stand.earth, Daily Kos, SumOfUs, Friends of the Earth US, 198 Methods, Native Organizer’s Alliance, People’s Action, Oil Change International, Greenpeace USA and yours truly, Other98.